Art Deco Strohmenger grand piano in a bird’s-eye maple case – £28,000 at Piano Auctions Ltd.

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Even so, the specialist keyboard saleroom Piano Auctions Ltd (15% buyer's premium) were pleasantly surprised when the example pictured here flew to £28,000 in their most recent auction on December 9 in Conway Hall, London WC1. True, they weren't surprised to see their modest £7000-9000 estimate surpassed, but Piano Auction's Sean McIlroy reckoned that the last example of this model to appear at auction around six years ago had only made around £12,000 or £13,000.

This example had several elements that contributed to the high price. Firstly this particular model, with the distinctive undertier bowed in a single sweep, is the Strohmenger that buyers especially covet. Moreover, it was in a bird's-eye maple case, the Deco enthusiasts' wood of choice for its pale colour and attractive figuration. Thirdly the piano came with not just a matching stool but, as an added bonus, a more unusual duet stool.

The Strohmenger's crossover appeal was evident as the piano was secured by a London club, while the almost as determined underbidder was a London Art Deco dealer.

Overall the auctioneers found buyers for a very respectable 106 of the 116 lots for a hammer total of around £250,000. Top priced lot of the day was a Steinway 7ft 6in model C grand piano of c.1894 in a carved rosewood case, a professionally restored and reconditioned instrument coming in on upper estimate at £30,000.

The sale's main casualty was the catalogue front cover illustration, a Becker 6ft 1in grand piano of c.1905 in a gilt-bronze mounted oak case.